Authored by: Mike Lampa, Anna Navarette, and Julie Burroughs – Great Data Minds Advisors
A least a few times a week we talk to organizations that are frustrated with their current governance and Master Data Management (MDM) programs. They take too long to implement, exhaust the participants and produce little or no value from all that effort and cost. There has to be a better way!
We were recently talking to one of our financial clients that finally achieved success. Their first attempt at MDM was to build a Product Master, a single view of truth for all products being sold by their sales staff. They used traditional project management and had a holistic delivery which would signify success. There were hundreds of data elements in the product master and the goal was to master them all! At the end of the day they didn’t hit the business expectation, there were still holes in the data, and quality issues. Trying to be everything to everyone was a failure.
The second try of the same project – they took an iterative approach to the program, knowing there could always be added value as the company’s needs evolved. They picked the top data elements that were globally used and were critical to sell the product. They identified owners, stewards and enhanced the UI to manage those elements. They built tests to ensure these elements moved through the systems without issue. They continued to add elements and delivered MDM “product releases” every 4 weeks. They still had some noise but there was increased confidence in the data. There was true ownership. The business prioritized the work giving them ownership of and accountability for what was delivered and how.
This critical data element (CDE) approach is an adoption of the Lean-Agile, Product Management mindset. Establishing several hierarchical organizational structures and arduous processes is replaced by intentional incorporation of quality, governance and MDM requirements as Minimum Viable Product (MVP) characteristics in every Data & Analytic Product release. Aligning CDE’s to strategic themes ensures the right value is to be delivered. Agile delivery ensures incremental value realization continuously, predictably and timely.
Technology, now more than ever, plays into agile deployments. Two trends positively impacting the data and analytics industry include augmented technologies (embedded machine learning algorithms) in data catalogs and evolving from domain centric MDM products to xDM platforms to master instances of People, Places & Things. According to Garner, organizations must invest in AUGMENTED data catalog technology to effectively compete with data.. We agree! Imagine freeing up thousands of hours of manual data analysis and metadata capture. Picture your information consumers having the ability to find and understand their data through “Google-like” search capabilities and the overall benefits of increased data literacy. There are many augmented data catalogs on the market. Our research determined Alation to have some of the best capabilities.
Now for the world of xDM. Game changer! Deployment in one third of the time at one third of the cost. xDM is the unified metadata-driven platform that generates all the pieces: UX, integration services, physical tables, enrichments, and data certification. This enables delivering multiple domains concurrently using these technologies coupled with the lean-agile CDE delivery approach mentioned above. More great reading on xDM can be found in this article from our partners at Semarchy.
If you would like to learn more, join us for our “What Real Looks Like: Agile Data Management” event coming up in October. We’d also love to hear any input you may have on this topic or even collaborate with you over a call. Either way, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.